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Love, Loss, and What I Wore

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Title: Love, Loss, and What I Wore  
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Subject: Rosie O'Donnell, Nora Ephron, Ashley Austin Morris, Amanda Setton, Slava's Snowshow
Collection: 2009 Plays, American Literature, American Plays, Comedy Plays, Off-Broadway Plays, Plays Based on Books
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Love, Loss, and What I Wore

Love, Loss, and What I Wore
United States national tour artwork
Written by Nora and Delia Ephron (playwrights)
Ilene Beckerman (material)
Characters 5 women
Date premiered August 2, 2008
Place premiered Bridgehampton Community House
Original language English
Genre Monologues
Official site

Love, Loss, and What I Wore is a play written by East Hampton, New York, and then as a benefit series at the DR2 Theatre in New York in early 2009. Later the same year, the show was produced Off-Broadway as an ongoing commercial theatrical production at the Westside Theatre in New York, where it continues to run as the second-longest running show in the theatre's history. The production and its cast received positive critical attention. The production won the 2010 Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience as well as the 2010 Audience Award for Favorite New Off-Broadway Play.

The show has been produced on six continents and more than eight countries. It began a national tour in the United States in September 2011 in Chicago. It is making an encore performance in Paris in January 2012.


  • Background and development 1
  • Plot 2
  • Production history 3
    • Initial benefit productions 3.1
    • Off-Broadway 3.2
    • US National Tour 3.3
    • Other productions 3.4
  • Themes 4
  • Critical reaction 5
    • Awards and nominations 5.1
  • Notes 6
  • External links 7

Background and development

Nora Ephron was a writer, director and producer best known for writing the screenplays of romantic comedy films. She received three Academy Award nominations for Original Screenplay, for Silkwood (1983), When Harry Met Sally... (1989) and Sleepless in Seattle (1993).[1] She had also written five best-selling books,[1] and she wrote the 2002 play Imaginary Friends, which fictionalizes the antagonistic relationship between Lillian Hellman and Mary McCarthy. Ephron sometimes co-authored screenplays with her sister, writer-producer Delia Ephron, including You've Got Mail (1998), Hanging Up (2000) and Bewitched (2005).[2][3]

Nora Ephron wrote the introduction to Beckerman's eponymous 1995 book, which she immediately thought had dramatic possibilities.[4] She identified with the stories in Love, Loss, and What I Wore because the book "is not about fashion; it is about what clothes really are to us, those moments when we are constantly trying to find our identity through them".[4] Soon after its publication, Ephron gave the book to eight of her friends for Christmas. She became interested in writing her own version of the book.[4] Once she decided to adapt Love, Loss, and What I Wore into a play, she and her sister emailed 100 women for stories.[4]

The show's monologues are sourced largely from Beckerman's book.[5] The Ephrons wove together a collection of stories adapted from the book with recollections of friends, including Rosie O'Donnell.[6][7] One of the monologues that became a highlight of the original production was based on Nora Ephron's 2006 best-seller I Feel Bad About My Neck.[8]


A character called Gingy acts as the narrator.[7] The show opens with her sketching various parts of her wardrobe that stir the most poignant memories.[6] She weaves her life story among the other tales, describing her three marriages, "motherhood and the death of a child, each turning point marked by a particular item of clothing".[8] Her life is represented beginning with experiences in a Brownies uniform and extending through her full life.[9]

In addition to Gingy, one character serves as the vixen, another plays a vulnerable gang member from Chicago, a third portrays a brave cancer patient, and the last serves as a mature woman pierced by vivid memories.[6] One of these characters, named Heather, chooses conservative "think" shoes over high heels in her youth, but at a later stage in life shows a preference for high heels.[9] The gang member likes insignias that are prominent on sweaters and their creator.[9] Among the 28 stories, other notable tales include one about the influence of Madonna (with discourse including "Any American woman under 40 who says she's never dressed as Madonna is either lying or Amish."); one about dressing room anxiety (a story revolving around the concept that "I’m an 8. I’ve always been an 8"); and one about your mother's tastes in clothes ("I don’t understand, you could look so good if you tried").[7][9] Three of the characters sometimes work as a trio and all characters have monologues.[10]

The Los Angeles Times spent a full paragraph on a vignette about two high school prom dresses. The junior prom dress was a conservative powder blue gown to wear with a nerdy date. The senior prom dress was a sexy black mini dress that was befitting of her more desirable date. The dresses presented an identity crisis to one character: "Here's the thing – I’ve never really known for sure which of those two people I am – the girl who almost doesn’t get asked to the prom at all or the girl who gets to go with the really cute guy. Every time I thought I knew which one I was, I turned out to be the other. Which is one reason I think I got married, to, like, end the confusion."[7]

The New York Times presented three stories that it felt were particularly emotional: the first was about a woman who removed miniskirts from her college wardrobe after being raped, but continued wearing her favorite boots; another was about wedding attire anxieties; and the third was about the choice of adorning a newly reconstructed breast with a tattoo.[8] In addition to these three stories, the same article also noted a humorous ode to black as a part of a wardrobe or in fact as a wardrobe, when one character notes: "Sometimes I buy something that isn’t black, and I put it on and I am so sorry".[8]

Other stories include recollections about the dress purchased for the date with a guy who subsequently married someone else; the foibles of spandex bras that result in a look known as the monoboob; issues involving toe cleavage; the Juicy Couture tracksuit that is a prominent staple of California wardrobes; wardrobe choice on the wrong day of the month; and the story about an incarcerated lover and the strategic hole in a certain pair of pants.[7]

Production history

Initial benefit productions

Initially, Love, Loss, and What I Wore was presented on August 2, 2008 at the Bridgehampton Community House as a benefit for the renovation of the John Drew Theatre/Guild Hall in East Hampton, New York.[11][12] The production, directed by Karen Lynn Carpenter, starred

External links

  1. ^ a b Brockes, Emma (2007-03-03). "Everything is copy".  
  2. ^ "Nora Ephron".  
  3. ^ "Delia Ephron".  
  4. ^ a b c d e Harrington, Douglas (2009-12-21). "Nora Ephron Brings Laughs To Madison Avenue".  
  5. ^ a b Lipton, Brian Scott (2009-11-18). "Kristin Chenoweth to Delay Joining Love, Loss, and What I Wore Due to Illness"., Inc. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i Stasio, Marilyn (2009-10-01). "Love, Loss, and What I Wore".  
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Stoudt, Charlotte (2010-05-14). "Theater review: 'Love, Loss, and What I Wore' at the Geffen Playhouse".  
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Isherwood, Charles (2009-10-02). "Spandex Agonistes: Why Don’t You Try It On?".  
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Reiner, Jay (2010-10-15). "Love, Loss, and What I Wore – Theater Review".  
  10. ^ a b MacDonald, Sandy (2009-10-02). "Love, Loss, and What I Wore"., Inc. Retrieved 2011-08-20. 
  11. ^ Gans, Andrew (2008-07-17). "Lavin and Najimy to Star in Reading of Nora and Delia Ephron's Love, Loss, and What I Wore".  
  12. ^ "Guild Hall Summer 2008 Tickets and Information"., Inc. 2008. Retrieved 2011-08-12. 
  13. ^ a b c Hetrick, Adam (2009-06-24). "Chenoweth, Daly, O'Donnell, Wilson and More Set for Love, Loss, and What I Wore Off-Broadway".  
  14. ^ a b c d Gans, Andrew and Adam Hetrick (2010-12-23). "Love, Loss, and What I Wore to Play Australia, France, Brazil, Mexico".  
  15. ^ "Love, Loss, and What I Wore".  
  16. ^ a b Tallmer, Jerry (2011-11-04 – 11-10). "Universal truths yield ‘weirdly interactive’ work: Sisterly collaboration combines book content, e-mail recollections".  
  17. ^ Gans, Andrew (2009-02-02). "Love, Loss, and What I Wore Reading, with Seldes, Behar, Finneran, Presented Feb. 2".  
  18. ^ Gans, Andrew (2009-03-02). "Love, Loss, and What I Wore Reading, with Danner, Baranski, White, Posey, Presented March 2".  
  19. ^ Gans, Andrew (2009-03-09). "Love, Loss, and What I Wore Reading, with Bishop, Essman, Wiig, Jones, Presented March 9".  
  20. ^ Itkzoff, Dave (2009-11-18). "Katie Finneran Will Fill In for Kristin Chenoweth in ‘Love, Loss’".  
  21. ^ "Cast Schedule". Love, Loss, and What I Wore. Retrieved 2011-08-05. 
  22. ^ a b c "Love, Loss, and What I Wore". Retrieved 2012-06-27. 
  23. ^ a b c "Love, Loss, and What I Wore". Internet Off-broadway database. Lucille Lortel Foundation. Retrieved 2011-07-15. 
  24. ^ "Love, Loss, and What I Wore Calls It a Wrap". Women Around Town. 2012-02-17. Retrieved 2012-03-01. 
  25. ^ Hetrick, Adam (2012-03-25). "Love, Loss, and What I Wore Folds Its Tale Off-Broadway March 25". Retrieved 2012-06-27. 
  26. ^ a b c Hetrick, Adam (2011-03-16). "Love, Loss, and What I Wore Will Launch Tour in Chicago".  
  27. ^ Weiss, Hedy (2011-09-19). "Great premise squandered in ‘Love, Loss, and What I Wore’".  
  28. ^ Jones, Chris (2011-09-20). "Trying on 'Love, Loss' for size at the Broadway Playhouse".  
  29. ^ Bacalzo, Dan (2011-08-30). "Taylor Miller, Loretta Swit to Join Chicago's Love, Loss, and What I Wore"., Inc. Retrieved 2011-09-23. 
  30. ^ a b Propst, Andy (2011-11-30). "Daisy Eagan, Loretta Swit, et al. Set for Off-Broadway's Love, Loss, and What I Wore Prior to National Tour"., Inc. Retrieved 2011-12-17. 
  31. ^ Bacalzo, Dan (2011-12-16). "Veanne Cox, Nancy Dussault, Lillias White Set for Love, Loss, and What I Wore"., Inc. Retrieved 2011-12-17. 
  32. ^ "Love, Loss, and What I Wore".  
  33. ^ "Love, Loss, and What I Wore Tickets and Information"., Inc. Retrieved 2011-08-20. 
  34. ^ Propst, Andy (2010-06-15). "Tyne Daly, Bonnie Franklin, Justina Machado, Rhea Perlman, et al. Now Set for Love, Loss and What I Wore at Geffen"., Inc. Retrieved 2011-08-20. 
  35. ^ Bacalzo, Dan (2010-07-30). "Meredith Baxter, Paula Christensen, Florence Henderson, Gina Torres, Marissa Jaret Winokur Set for Geffen's Love, Loss, and What I Wore"., Inc. Retrieved 2011-08-20. 
  36. ^ Bacalzo, Dan (2010-08-25). "Maria Conchita Alonso, Jami Gertz, Harriet Harris, Christine Lahti, Jenny O'Hara Set for LA Love, Loss, and What I Wore"., Inc. Retrieved 2011-08-20. 
  37. ^ a b Bacalzo, Dan (2010-10-19). "Terri Garr, Sandra Tsing Loh, Marianna Palka, Mimi Rogers, Sally Struthers to Be Final Love, Loss and What I Wore Cast at Geffen Playhouse"., Inc. Retrieved 2011-08-20. 
  38. ^ "Love, Loss, and What I Wore Tickets and Information"., Inc. Retrieved 2011-08-20. 
  39. ^ Simmonds, Diana (2011-01-06). "Love, Loss, and What I Wore". Retrieved 2011-10-23. 
  40. ^ "Love, Loss and What I Wore". Expresso. 2011-06-20. Retrieved 2011-10-23. 
  41. ^ "Love, Loss and What I Wore". 2011-03-07. Retrieved 2011-10-23. 
  42. ^ Santos, Aileen. "Asian Premiere of "Love, Loss, and What I Wore" Runs at the RCBC Plaza Until July 17". Retrieved 2011-10-23. 
  43. ^ a b c d e Shaw, Helen (2009-10-05). "Love, Loss and What I Wore".  
  44. ^ "Love, Loss, and What I Wore to Play Off-Broadway's Westside Theatre".  
  45. ^ Simon, John and Jeremy Gerard (2009-10-03). "Letts's ‘Donuts’ Is Splendid; Ephrons Cast Spell: N.Y. Theater".  
  46. ^ Bacalzo, Dan (2010-04-29). "Joanna Gleason, Jill Zarin Set for New York Bag Ladies Luncheon"., Inc. Retrieved 2011-08-20. 
  47. ^ Gans, Andrew (2010-05-03). "Drama Desk Award Nominations Announced; Ragtime and Scottsboro Top List".  
  48. ^ "2010 Audience Award Winners"., Inc. Retrieved 2011-10-23. 
  49. ^ Gans, Andrew (2010-05-21). "Sondheim, Red, Bridge, La Cage and Molina Win Drama League Awards".  
  50. ^ "2009 Casting Society Of America's ARTIOS Award Winners Announced".  


At the November 2009 Casting Society of America Artios Awards, the Ephrons earned the New York Big Apple Award.[50]

Award Outcome
2010 Drama Desk Awards[47]
Unique Theatrical Experience Won
2010 Audience Choice Awards[48]
Favorite New Off-Broadway Play Won
2010 Drama League Awards[49]
Distinguished Performance: Tyne Daly Nominated
Distinguished Performance: Rosie O'Donnell Nominated
2010 Casting Society of America Artios Awards[23]
NY Off-Broadway Comedy/Musical Excellence in Casting:
Tara Rubin, Merri Sugarman, Eric Woodall, Lauran Schtuzel
The original Off-Broadway production earned several recognitions:
Off-Broadway and Los Angeles production artwork

Awards and nominations

[43] [7] reviewer.Los Angeles Times Certain monologues on subjects such as weight, status bags and high heels did not achieve their full potential according to The

Isherwood also notes that this serves a female audience. "If there are chick flicks and chick lit – derogatory though some might find those terms to be – Love, Loss, and What I Wore should clearly be classified as chick legit...for the women who can share deeply in the particulars of experience dissected and discussed."[8] The Los Angeles Times notes the light nature of the subject matter: "...isn’t out to reclaim female sexuality from centuries of oppression; it wittily celebrates wardrobe malfunctions..."[7] According to Reiner, the show points out that "...if there is one thing the females of the species have in common, it's a deep and abiding love/hate relationship with their wardrobe...this wonderfully witty show illustrates, what one wears to the party is sometimes more memorable than the party itself." He also notes that the entire performance has meaning as it is "jam-packed and resonant" throughout.[9] Shaw notes that "The cozy humor strikes many women's funny bones with a mighty whack, perhaps because it reaffirms so perfectly their own preoccupations."[43]

A highlight derived from Ephron's book and that was consistently praised was the O'Donnell portrayal of the role of the purse in the scene "I Hate My Purse!".[8][9] While Reiner says, "There's an amusing 'I hate my purse' segment",[9] Isherwood notes "The smartest and shapeliest piece of writing in the show is that acerbic essay by Nora Ephron about her troublesome relationship with purses...Entrusted to Ms. O’Donnell, who does it proud, the essay is a defiant denunciation of the tyranny of the pocketbook, a 'j’accuse' for the era of the 'it' bag."[8] Shaw described O'Donnell's purse performance as an aria,[43] and Jerry Tallmer of The Villager called it "one of the pillars of the show".[16] This scene is sometimes performed alone outside of the theatre.[46]

The original benefit series was described as intimate and starry by[44] Isherwood described the Off-Broadway play as a "show about matters of the heart and matters of the closet" in The New York Times.[8] In Variety, Marilyn Stasio called it "a bittersweet meditation on the joys and tribulations of women's lives, reflected through the prism of their clothes".[6] In Bloomberg News, the critics commented that the playwrights were "literary alchemists expert at mixing the sentimental and the satirical and turning out something poignant" and noted that the clothing and accessories dominated the memories while "The men are extras."[45] The Los Angeles Times described the show as a cross between The Vagina Monologues and What Not to Wear.[7] Helen Shaw, writing for Time Out, also described the Ephrons' style as similar to The Vagina Monologuess' Eve Ensler.[43] Jay Reiner of The Hollywood Reporter also notes that from the work "a tapestry of the collective female psyche emerges that is tender and insightful without being sentimental".[9], Inc. describes the show as "So insightful and entertaining is this survey of sartorial preoccupations and the deeper questions underlying them that multiple viewings would be advisable."[10]

Critical reaction

[7][6] In addition to clothing, accessories such as a [6] The play uses clothing as a metaphor for women's experiences.[7] The show is staged in what is described as an "unapologetically low-tech" manner.

The show, which has a running time of about 1 hour and 30 minutes,[6] is composed of 28 different stories that seek to illuminate the female identity.[9] Generally composed of comic stories, the show often addresses sad, bitter or sentimental issues.[8][43] Beckerman's memoir takes as its departure the clothing worn at pivotal times of her life and serves as the foundation for the show. The Ephrons augmented this with a collection of similarly themed stories presented by four additional characters.[6][7]


By the end of 2010, the play had been staged in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto and Buenos Aires, and numerous other productions around the world have run since then.[14][22] Carpenter directed the international production that has run in many countries.[14] The Toronto production ran from July 16 to October 2, 2010 at the Panasonic Theater.[38] The play was presented in Sydney from January 3 – 30, 2011 at the Sydney Opera House with an opening cast of Natalie Bassingthwaighte, Judi Farr, Amanda Muggleton, Magda Szubanski and Mirrah Foulkes, under the direction of Wayne Harrison, with some minor modifications to localize some of the Americanisms.[39] In South Africa, the show was performed from April 8 – June 12, 2011 at Studio Theatre, Montecasino near Johannesburg and at the Theatre on the Bay in Cape Town from June 15 to July 2 under the direction of Moira Blumenthal.[40][41] It made its Asian premiere in Manila from July 14 – 17, 2011 at RCBC Plaza with a cast that included Bituin Escalante; the production was directed by Michael Williams and Azanza-Dy.[42]

The play was next produced at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles.[7] The Geffen production ran from May 12, 2010 to November 19, 2010,[32][33] breaking box office records.[22] The Geffen casts also rotated. Well-known actresses there included Kane, DeVito, Rhea Perlman, Nancy Travis,[34] Daly, Bonnie Franklin, Meredith Baxter, Florence Henderson, Marissa Jaret Winokur,[35] María Conchita Alonso, Christine Lahti,[36] Lauren Hutton,[37] Teri Garr, Mimi Rogers and Sally Struthers.[37] Most of the initial Geffen cast had performed in the Off-Broadway run.[9] At the Geffen Playhouse, the show was directed by Jenny Sullivan.[7] Kane played the role of Gingy when it debuted in Los Angeles.[7]

Other productions

Carpenter directed a US national tour that began in Chicago in September 2011 with an engagement at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place.[26] Roth produced the Chicago production.[26] The Chicago cast included Nora Dunn, Felicia Fields, Roni Geva, Katie O’Brien and Barbara Robertson as Gingy.[27][28] Although the show was originally scheduled to run through October 23, 2011,[26] it was extended to December 4 before opening[29] and later extended again to January 1, 2012.[30] The post-Chicago national tour performances were set to be headlined by the December 7–30 Off-Broadway cast that included Daisy Eagan, Sonia Manzano and Loretta Swit.[30][31]

US National Tour

The production officially opened on October 1, 2009 at the Westside Theatre (top); Later productions of the show included runs at the Geffen Playhouse (middle) and the Sydney Opera House (bottom)

The show won the 2010 Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience as well as the 2010 Audience Award for Favorite New Off-Broadway Play. Daly and O'Donnell were nominated for 2010 Drama League Awards for Distinguished Performance.[23] Tara Rubin, Merri Sugarman, Eric Woodall, and Lauran Schtuzel were nominated for the 2010 Casting Society of America Artios Awards for NY Off-Broadway Comedy/Musical Excellence in Casting.[23] The show's 1,000th performance played on March 15, 2012.[24] The production closed on March 25, 2012 after 1,013 performances. 32 rotating casts and 120 actresses participated in the production over its entire run. The final cast was Sierra Boggess, Joyce Van Patten, Karyn Quackenbush, Erica Watson and Ally Walker.[25]

The production continued at the Westside Theatre with an open-ended commercial run with the casting strategy of rotating 4-week casts because it enabled the production to pursue higher caliber actors. Nora Ephron stated at one question and answer session: "We keep re-casting it so we can get really great actresses to come for four weeks. It is really hard to get really good people to work Off-Broadway for six months because it does not pay much, but you can get them for four weeks."[4] Other well-known actresses who have performed in the Off-Broadway production include the following: Carol Kane, Debra Monk, Janeane Garofalo, Fran Drescher, Melissa Joan Hart, Brooke Shields, Victoria Clark, Tovah Feldshuh, Loretta Swit, Mary Testa, Nikki Blonsky, Donna McKecknie, B. Smith and Marla Maples.[21] As of October 2011, it was the second-longest running show in the history of Westside Theatre.[22]

The play was then performed Off-Broadway, beginning on September 21, 2009, with 3 consecutive runs each lasting 4 weeks and having an entirely new 5-person cast.[13] The production officially opened on October 1, 2009 at the Westside Theatre.[8] The cast originally included Daly, O'Donnell, Bee, Katie Finneran and Natasha Lyonne. The rotating cast also included Mary Birdsong, Kristin Chenoweth, Lucy DeVito, Jane Lynch, Rhea Perlman, Mary Louise Wilson and Rita Wilson.[6] Chenoweth was replaced in the last of the initial three 4-week runs by Finneran.[20] The production benefited Dress for Success. Karen Lynn Carpenter directed, with scenic design by Jo Winiarski, costume design by Jessica Jahn, lighting design by Jeff Croiter, sound design by Walter Trarbach and make-up design by Maria Verel.[14] Daryl Roth was the producer and Alexander Fraser was the co-producer.[8] The production was staged with the five women seated, all dressed in black, at the lip of the stage, consulting scripts on music stands as needed.[7][8] Ilene Beckerman's original drawings were presented on placards, hung on clothes hangers on a clothes rack, stage right of the Gingy actress.

Rosie O'Donnell (left in 2008) and Tyne Daly (right in 2009) were nominated for 2010 Drama League Awards for Distinguished Performance


[13].Kristen Wiig and Veanne Cox, Sarah Jones, Kelly Bishop, Julie White, Parker Posey, Christine Lahti, Blythe Danner, Marlo Thomas, Debi Mazar, America Ferrera, Rondi Reed, Samantha Bee, Rosie O'Donnell [8] (who created the narrator character, Gingy, for the New York Production),Tyne Daly Other participants in the original readings included [19][18][17].Lucy DeVito and Heather Burns, Katie Finneran, Joy Behar, Marian Seldes The first cast at DR2 Theatre was [16] The first seven performances had seven different casts.[15] The set of seven Monday night readings were held from February 2 – March 9, 2009 at the Off-off-Broadway DR2 Theatre.[14][13] again under the direction of Karen Lynn Carpenter.[5]

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